As the Narendra Modi government prepares to celebrate its first year in office later this month, it has lined up a heavy legislative agenda for Parliament when it resumes on Tuesday after a four-day break.
Eager to flaunt some game-changing reforms, the government is pinning its hopes on getting approval for the >Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill , besides another for >tracking black money stashed away abroad.
Other key draft legislation scheduled for consideration and passage before the close of the Budget Session on Friday include the >land acquisition Bill , the amendment to the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act to treat 16-to-18 year-olds as adults in the cases of heinous crimes, and the India-Bangladesh land swap deal.
While the BJP’s floor managers are eager to push through these Bills, all indications suggested a rough ride ahead. More than the time constraint — just four working days — it is the absence of political consensus and a perception in the Opposition of being “bulldozed” that is making floor management an uphill task.
Congress sceptical Though the GST, land swap with Bangladesh and amendments to the JJ Act are Bills originally drafted by the UPA government, the changes introduced in the first two have made the Congress sceptical. The Land Acquisition Bill — which the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has rechristened the ‘Land Grab Bill’ — is staring at a return to the ordinance route for the third time in five months as opposition to it has only increased since the Lok Sabha passed it in March during the pre-recess part of the Budget Session.
Despite the clear majority the BJP has in the Lok Sabha, as opposed to the fragmented Opposition, the government’s floor managers are being increasingly given a tough time in the Lower House as was evident on April 24 when Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to move The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill to introduce GST even before the Finance and Appropriation Bills were passed. With the Opposition — led by Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai — digging its heels in, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan requested Mr. Jaitley to defer it till the Finance and Appropriation Bills were passed.